WASHINGTON — Heritage’s homeland security team reacted Thursday to the release of Customs and Border Protection apprehension numbers for the month of May. The data showed more than 180,000 illegal aliens were apprehended crossing the border over the course of the month, a 674% increase from the 23,237 illegal aliens apprehended at the border in May 2020. This marks the fourth month in a row of more than 100,000 apprehensions by CBP, and three consecutive months above 170,000—the highest totals in two decades. CBP’s social media team chose to frame the news slightly differently, however, no doubt looking for some sort of saving grace in these appalling numbers.
Chad Wolf, former acting DHS secretary and Heritage visiting fellow:
“These historic numbers will continue as long as the Biden administration refuses to apply any kind of consequence to individuals crossing the border illegally. The vice president needs to stop talking about ‘root causes’ and focus on the crisis in front of her and this administration. We know the root causes of illegal immigration: people from around the world want to come here for economic opportunity, plain and simple. The administration has come up with various other reasons to explain this surge, but at the end of the day, they are coming because of the pull of the Biden administration’s open-borders policies. This administration has rolled out the welcome mat, undone successful policies that had secured our border, and tied the hands of law enforcement responsible for removing the overwhelming majority who do not qualify for asylum and have no legal right to be here. Expect these shocking numbers for the foreseeable future.”
Mark Morgan, former acting CBP commissioner and Heritage visiting fellow:
“While Vice President Kamala Harris continues to laugh off questions about why she hasn’t visited the border, the men and women of the Border Patrol are being crushed under this historic border crisis. The Biden administration is directly responsible for this crisis, and is only digger a deeper hole for country by doubling down on its failed policies and its pursuit of open borders. The American people have to be wondering: How long will it be before we see fewer than 170,000 illegal aliens apprehended crossing our border every month? How long before it’s fewer than 100,000? Biden’s border crisis is normalizing law-breaking at our southern border in a way never before seen. Previous administrations faced crises and dealt with them — this administration knowingly created a crisis, and is refusing to fix it, or even acknowledge it, because of the political benefit it perceives in allowing it to continue. Biden’s border crisis is a national embarrassment.”
Lora Ries, Heritage senior research fellow for homeland security and former acting DHS deputy chief of staff:
“Not only are we seeing a border crisis worse than any in two decades, but our leaders on both sides of the aisle are refusing to take it seriously. Mere hours before CBP released May’s numbers showing more than 180,000 apprehensions, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee voted to advance three DHS nominees who either crafted Biden’s open-borders policies, or will actively work to advance them.
“John Tien was nominated to be DHS deputy secretary — despite having no border security or immigration experience. He also famously refused to answer a question from Sen. Josh Hawley about whether he thought illegally crossing the border should be a crime. Robert Silvers was nominated for DHS undersecretary for policy, even though he charted the disastrous policy course for Biden’s DHS while on the transition team. Jonathan Meyer, nominated as DHS general counsel, was also on the Biden DHS transition and provided legal advice that justified the policies that precipitated the Biden border crisis. An alum of the Obama administration, Meyer was also well-known for resisting congressional oversight.
“The American people deserve a Department of Homeland Security that is committed to securing our border and enforcing our laws. Not surprisingly, leftist senators voted to advance nominees that would do the opposite. Yet, only three Republican senators — Rick Scott, Josh Hawley, and James Lankford — voted against advancing all three open-borders nominees. Senators cannot adopt the same, weak 'the president should have his nominees in place' approach when voting on DHS nominees for this administration. Our national security, sovereignty, and well-being are too important.”